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Flashback Friday: "Cortona Clothesline" concertina

>> Friday, June 25, 2010

This week's Flashback Friday is a book that involves two different printmaking techniques, applique, embroidery, and, of course, bookbinding. As the title "Cortona Clothesline" suggests, the inspiration for this book came from my summer spent in Cortona, Italy. I began to love the daily sight of hanging laundry on lines strung from Tuscan mountainside homes. When I returned stateside, I channeled the imagery into my artwork.

These photos were taken in the courtyard behind the historic building where I lived in Cortona. After hand-washing our clothes, we would hang them here to blow in the breeze until dry. Can you imagine a more beautiful setting for laundry? When in Italy, even something as mundane as laundry day can create inspiration for years to come.

On both sides of the cotton rag paper that I used for the pages, I layered ink using the monoprint technique to create an expressive blend of rich blues and greens, inspired by the Italian countryside. I then transferred my drawings of women's garments to a woodblock to be carved. The woodblock was coated with a transparent blue ink and printed atop the monoprint background. Next came the hand sewing of yellow embroidery thread to represent the clothesline.

The book is bound in the concertina, or accordion, style. To create the covers, I cut out the shape of a dress from blue fabric and appliqued it onto green fabric. I hand-stitched clothespins and the line on the cover as well. This book is one in an edition of eight books. Each is unique, using different colors of ink and thread.

This copy of "Cortona Clothesline" is currently for sale in my Etsy shop.


Bec June 25, 2010 at 10:15 PM  

Very cool book! I think it turned out beautiful and so unique!

Diana June 25, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

The clothesline book is one of my favorites of yours!

Katie June 26, 2010 at 12:03 AM  

Thank you!

Erin June 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM  

So impressed, Katie.

Anonymous June 27, 2010 at 5:09 PM  

Love the garments with the woodblock---looks amazing! :)

Katie June 28, 2010 at 1:52 PM  

Thanks, guys. I'm quite proud of this one, and I really like the process that was used to make it. It's so exciting to see it come together with each layer of ink that's applied, not to mention the stitching and binding too.

adelle June 30, 2010 at 4:58 AM  

How beautiful... I love artist books!

I'm an art teacher and just recently finished a unit on Artist books with my Year 11s. I haven't taken any photos of them yet, but I will shortly and show you what they looked like. I was very proud of them.

Katie June 30, 2010 at 9:48 AM  

Thanks, Adelle. I would love to see the artist books that your students made! That sounds like such a wonderful unit. I wish something like that would have been offered at my high school.

Southern Vermont Artist January 18, 2012 at 1:05 PM  

I am an artist and have been collecting clothesline photographs from all of my travels. But this book is the ultimate! Beautiful, very well thought-out and it looks very well made. Congratulations!

Katie January 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM  

Thank you so much! I enjoy taking photos of clotheslines on my travels as well, and I love using these photos as inspiration for my artwork.

Lucy Express February 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM  

I think that's so cute.

Katie February 7, 2012 at 6:40 PM  

Thank you, Lucy! I'm so glad you like it. Thanks for taking a look at my blog.

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